Accused Review: Tracie’s Story

August 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

ACCUSED: Tuesday 14th August, BBC1, 9pm

Any British actor you talk to will usually admit that while TV is great in the UK, they often gaze across the pond in envy as their counterparts tuck into twenty part series. But when drama is done this well, an hour is really all that’s needed.

All the pre-hype had been about the shots of a tarted-up Sean Bean dressed in drag. But anyone who showed up to see the spectacle will probably have ended up staying for the whole ride, as the Hollywood star delivered a riveting performance which captivates from the first moment to the last.

Oft-overlooked storyteller Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, The Lakes, Hillsborough) should also take a bow. Once again he effortlessly illustrates how vulnerable humans can be and the irresistible pull of denying hard truths. He’s obviously well-respected within the industry because Bean and his co-star Stephen Graham are big names on either side of the pond and both jumped at the chance to be involved.

Bean plays Simon, a middle-aged English teacher who likes stepping out in high heels of an evening. In the opening exchanges, his alter ego Tracie bumps into Tony (Graham) after an unpleasant exchange at a bar, and decides to spend the evening with him/her. Their relationship develops, but when Simon discovers that Tony has been lying all along, things take a tragic twist and the pair of them end up in the middle of the Lake District with Tony’s wife’s body in the boot.

We see the story through the eyes of Bean’s lonely, yet admirable character, and feel every jolt of excitement and stomach-churning heart-break as Tracey/Simon dare to dream that they might have found love at last. The scene in which he tracks Tony to the Shopping Centre is particularly rich. The way the audio fades until it sounds like music in someone else’s headphones and Tony wanders past Simon without recognising him was heart-rending, telling the story of Simon’s painful past and dashed future in less than 60 seconds.

For his part, Bean really brought an earnest poignancy to the whole thing. You could almost feel that glimmer of hope being snatched away from him.

Yet the beauty of the whole episode is the contrast drawn between Tony, a spineless, dishonest character who appears respectable and Tracie, an ostracised freak-show who acts with integrity throughout. Apart from being a commentary on how easily anyone can slip into trouble, it’s a great allegory for modern attitudes of respectability and judgement. We so get symbolism. More please..

“I Went Out on the Town in High Heels? Sean Bean Talks ‘Accused’

Carol Graham says:

What an excellent perormance by Sean Bean!! This must be the reason he has been so successful all these years,and cast in such blockbusters as Lord of the Rings In accussed, he carried off the emotions of jealousy, hurt, pain and all the trimmings with looking forward to THAT date, with that special person, on top of which dressing the way he did. Fantastic! Well done Sean!

Tony Wilson says:

HBO seem to rule the roost with TV drama these days but when British drama is done this well there is just no beating it. I loved the way this was both dramatic and thought provoking but also in the most part believable which is very rare in an era where drama feels it has to have more twists and turns than a plate of spagetti.

alex james says:

I enjoyed the show however i did think that Sean Bean would be in all 4 episodes however there are different stories, which was a bit of a disappointed as Sean Bean is an amazing actor however i’m looking forward to see Maisie Williams perform

but overall a must watch, it did drag me into the show

What a performance by Sean Bean, i’m glad he didn’t die in this show 😀

maz tattersall says:

Definitely an award winning drama. McGovern’s script was top-notch and right to the point. The plot departed from reality with Tracie addressing the court in her outfit – can you really do that? surely her original shoes, nails and clothes would have been damaged – but the monologue said it all from the heart. We’d believe Tracie was innocent, but would have condemned Simon. The dramatic device was entirely justified.

Sean Bean’s performance was light years away from some of his lovable but rather wooden efforts as Sharpe. I’ve met transvestites at close quarters, but he and McGovern showed the soul within. Maybe we are all a little bit scared by people who are different from ourselves, what we need to reflect on is their humanity. Job done Sean and Jimmy